FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who can claim an inheritance if a person dies without a will?

Legislation in England and Wales, recognises the claims of a spouse, children and other blood relatives -up to first cousins once removed. Please see our genealogical tree chart for a graphical explanation of family relationships.

Nevertheless, the law in foreign jurisdictions can be very different and in such cases it is best to contact us for further information.

Do I have to share any inheritance with other relatives?

Yes, if there are other relatives who have a similar family relationship to the deceased.

Are you hired by the government to undertake your investigations?

No, we do not engage in work for any government department. In the event that no next-of-kin are found, it is common practice amongst governments across the world to expropriate those assets. Therefore, private companies like Celtic Research undertake the task of finding missing heirs at their own risk.

Who is the administrator and what do they do?

The administrator is responsible for making sure that the estate of the deceased is distributed lawfully. They oversee the payment of debts & tax and approve the accounts to show how much money is available for distribution. The administrator can be a family member, a lawyer, a banker, or any trustworthy person of legal age.

Can I put forward my own claim to an estate?

Yes, you have every right to carry out the necessary research and put forward your own claim to a decedent’s estate -providing you can produce the relevant proofs to satisfy the solicitors administering the estate. However proving your own claim can be a lengthy, difficult and often expensive task. You can repair your own car, or even lay the tiles in your kitchen, but it is often better to leave that job to a professional. Celtic Research executes all the research and ancillary work necessary, thereby ensuring speed, efficiency and accuracy.

Why can’t you tell me the value of the estate?

We cannot say how much an estate is worth if we do not have this information made available to us. Public administrators and solicitors in most jurisdictions around the world will not make such details public. For example, in England & Wales, the Treasury Solicitor has to comply with the Money Laundering Act 2007, which means it won’t divulge the value of an estate to anyone that cannot prove they have a legal claim. This means that unless we submit a claim with supporting documents for an heir, we cannot know the value of the estate… and we cannot submit a claim for an heir unless the people we contact agree to use our service. We hope you will agree this is a ‘Catch-22’ situation. This means that most of the cases we research, do not have a pre-determined value and we risk losing money in every case we research if the final value is too small to cover our fees.

What is done with the personal assets of the deceased such as real estate, furniture, jewellery etc.?

All the deceased’s assets, including personal items, are sold at market value enabling the inheritance to be divided equally amongst all next-of-kin

Is any interest paid to the estate?

Normally interest accrues to an estate during the time that funds are placed in a bank account prior to distribution. There are instances where interest can only accumulate for a set number of years. Everything depends on the original jurisdiction involved. Contact us for further details.

How long will it take for me to receive any money?

It is difficult to estimate the length of time it will take for any given estate to reach the distribution stage, but it can take between 6-12 months from the time we begin to process your claim. The time it takes varies given on number of factors such as, legal complications, missing/destroyed records and other events that can prevent an estate from being distributed more quickly.

Why can’t you divulge the name of the deceased?

We will have taken a lot of time and trouble in order to find the rightful next of kin and in order to safeguard our fees (which of course are only recovered if we successfully prove the claims of those next of kin) we reserve the right not to identify the deceased until we have contracts or agreements from all of the potential heirs.

Can you give me names and addresses of other members of my family that you have found?

If you would like, we are happy to forward your details to other members of the family, but we cannot give you their contact details without their permission.

How much do you charge to find a beneficiary?

Please refer to Fees and contact us for more information.

Do I have to pay you for your research if my claim is not successful?

No. You do not have to pay us for our research costs. We bear the risk in every case. Please refer to Fees.